Friday, June 19, 2009

The 3 - June 19, 2009

This week, "The 3", which highlights 3 news stories of relevance to the Christian community, looks at the response of Christians to arguably the top headline of the week - the political situation in Iran. Also, the Senate anticipates a vote on "hate crimes" legislation, and the Federal "Defense of Marriage Act" tops the news.

3 - Iranian interest

The tug-of-war between factions supporting candidates Mussavi and Ahmadinejad continues in Iran, as massive gatherings have been held in the capital of Tehran for the past week. Some are likening the current waves of protest to the time surrounding the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Christians in the country have endured persecution under the current regime, and apparently were supportive of Mussavi as a possible agent of change. Read more in this press release from the ministry of Open Doors USA.

2 - Protection or intimidation?

The U.S. House of Representatives has already passed a hate crimes bill, and this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stated that passage of that legislation in the Senate was a top priority before the August recess. This bill, S. 909 provides for greater punishment for crimes that could be identified to be based on a person's hateful intent, including those committed based on a victim's sexual orientation or gender identity. This legislation would also write into federal law protection for individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

But classifying crimes based on the motive or intent of the criminal opens up a door that could leave preachers and other Christians unprotected. The bill could lay the foundation for those who share a Biblical perspective on homosexuality to be criminally liable, if it could be proven that a crime was committed against another person based on the speech of someone that could have influenced the alleged criminal. This leaves a chilling open door for people of faith.

For some interesting information about the potential effect of this legislation, you can check out this link to a page at CitizenLink's web site. Also, the view of National Religous Broadcasters can be seen here from a Christian Newswire release.

1 - DOMA and domestic partnerships

Days after receiving criticism about his Administration's perceived affirmation of the Defense of Marriage Act (click here for Christian Post account), President Obama stepped forward to offer domestic and same-sex partners of federal workers certain benefits. Some experts, like Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, see this as a violation of the provisions of DOMA. Click here to read the FRC's press release.

This comes at a time when support for same-sex marriage could possibly be waning, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll. The poll found that 33 percent of those surveyed favor marriage for same-sex marriage, down from a high of 42 percent in April. Here is that CBS News story.

Honorable mention:
The intersection of politics and pop culture - the Palin-Letterman dispute and some response from female, pro-family leaders

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